Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Republican Racism Example #22: Rick Santorum And The White Supremacist

During the recent CPAC confab, Rick Santorum dined with a racist activist who believes that African Americans and Latinos are intellectually inferior and threaten the future of the United States.  (Photo from the Talking Points Memo website at http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/the-charged-politics-of-dining-at-cpac.php)

During the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) annual meeting earlier this month in Washington, D.C., current Republican front-runner Rick Santorum had dinner with an avowed White Nationalist, Robert Vandervort.

White Nationalists see the United States as a creation of ‘European Americans.”  They believe that whites are intellectually superior to blacks and people of Latino origin. They urge whites to separate from other races, to carve out a distinct homeland free of dark-skinned genetic undesirables if they are to racially and culturally.  White Nationalists were not allowed to participate in the 2011 CPAC meeting.

However, in a sign of how far rightwing and intolerant the Republican Party has become in the Obama era, White Nationalists actually organized a session on the evils of multi-culturalism during the CPAC gathering this year in Washington, D.C.  As noted in an earlier post (Republican Racism Example #13), the panel included Peter Brimelow, creator of the VDARE website that contains regular rants against Jews and postings arguing that blacks and Latinos are intellectually inferior.  

Brimelow participated in a CPAC panel titled "“The Failure of Multiculturalism: How the Pursuit of Diversity Is Weakening the American Identity” along with Robert Vandervort, a veteran activist in the White Nationalist Movement in Chicago and executive director of ProEnglish, an "English only" activist group.  As Talking Points Memo reported, Vandervort “was once involved with a group called the Chicagoland Friends of the American Renaissance. That group describes itself on its website as ‘racial-realist,’ and advertises a book on racial genealogy that says, ‘orientals fall at one end of the spectrum, blacks at the other end, and whites in between.’”

Robert Vandervort, Rick Santorum's new friend, believes that blacks and Latinos pose a danger to Amerca. (Photo from the ProEnglish website at http://www.proenglish.org/about-us/meet-the-staff).

The wordy name of Vandervort’s group bears explanation.  Vandervort aligned himself with American Renaissance, a magazine and website that promotes the pseudo-science of eugenics, the attempt to breed racially superior human beings.  The magazine and website argues that blacks and Latinos are genetically backward and their presence endangers the American economic future.  The leader of American Renaissance, Jared Taylor, wrote in the magazine in 2006, “Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears." 

Professional racist Jared Taylor, during a talk at the University of Texas at Arlington campus.  Taylor has written that without the guidance of whites, blacks lose any trace of civilization.  His group, American Renaissance, has links to a man who recently met with GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum. (Photo from http://www.amren.com/ar/2006/06/TaylorInTexassml.jpg).  

The anti-racist and anti-hate group organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has compiled other nasty white supremacist passages from this right-wing “think tank,” such as a 1990 article that declared:

“In fact, blacks and Hispanics are, compared to whites, far more likely to be poor, illiterate, on welfare, or in jail; they are far more likely to have illegitimate children, be addicted to drugs, or have AIDS. By no definition of international competitiveness can the presence of these populations be anything but a disadvantage."

The magazine and website have also insisted that people of African and Latino descent have a greater propensity for mental illness:

"There is a difference between blacks and whites — analogous to the difference in intelligence — in psychopathic personality considered as a personality trait. ... For psychopathic personality, the mean and distribution are higher among blacks. The effect of this is that there are more black psychopaths and more psychopathic behavior among blacks," wrote leading white supremacist Richard Lynn for American Renaissance  in 2002.  (For more on American Renaissance,  see http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-files/groups/american-renaissance). 

Santorum had lunch with Vandervort on February 10 and the ProEnglish group immediately tweeted, “Executive Director Bob Vandervoort just had dinner with Rick Santorum.”  (For more, see http://www.buzzfeed.com/rosiegray/rick-santorum-had-dinner-with-white-nationalist-bo).  The Santorum camp immediately tried to downplay the event, telling Talking Points Memo that Vandervort was just one attendee at “in a much larger group of 85 people” that had been put together by longtime conservative fundraiser and Republican activist Richard Viguere.  

The Santorum campaign is ignoring a larger issue, however.  Not everyone at CPAC was invited to the Viguere dinner.  The top conservative bigwig sponsoring a “meet Santorum” get-together wanted to recruit an open white supremacist.  They believe that the failed Senator from Pennsylvania needs to help of men like Vandervort and Santorum and his supporters like Viguere apparently have no problem with ProEnglish and their leader’s racial ideology. Whether motivated by cynicism or by genuine racism, men like Santorum and Viguere are fuzzing the boundaries between the GOP and hate groups.

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001 (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(with Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013). 

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.

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